Is lab-grown meat the real thing?
A GLOBAL demand for protein, an innovative food industry and consumers who demand sustainable, ethical meals are behind the rise of one of the latest culinary trends – meat grown in a lab.
Meat that isn’t really meat is not new – plant-based alternatives to ground beef such as Quorn mince (made from edible fungus) have been around for years.
Now there is a new alternative which promises to deliver the holy grail of meatless meat by replicating the sensory experience of beef.
Laboratory-based or in vitro meat is a cultured product created from cellular material.
Cellular agriculture has potential to be another competitor for red meat so MLA is keeping a close eye on its evolution.
MLA chief marketing and communications officer Lisa Sharp says, while it is early days, lab-grown meat could take some market share from traditional production systems.
“While plant-based products boast vegan/vegetarian attributes, lab-grown meat is a different proposition – it is meat, but produced in a different way,” she said. “It asks consumers to accept not a substitute, but an artificial replication.”
The good news for Australian red meat producers is that they can also deliver to meet consumer-driven trends.
“Taste is another barrier, as naturally produced red meat still boasts an eating experience which lab-based products can’t yet deliver,” Ms Sharp said.